National Geography’s ‘Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet’ follows the brilliant veterinarian, Dr. Michelle Oakley, as she rescues and treats domestic pets, endangered wild animals, and any other species that needs her help. The only vet available in her area of Yukon, Dr. Oakley, doesn’t let anything come in the way of her duty. From tranquilizing and treating wild animals to taking quick helicopter rides to reach animals in need quickly, Dr. Oakley inspires and impresses us with her work. As her family regularly appears on her show, her fans are eager to know more about their beloved veterinarian’s personal life. Well, here is everything that we found out!
Dr. Michelle Oakley’s Family and Early Life
Born on September 1969 to Georgia and Steve Plantinga, Dr. Oakley is a native of Munster, Indiana. She fell in love with animals from a very young age as she spent most of her summers at her uncle’s dairy ranch. In her childhood, Dr. Oakley looked up to Jane Goodall, the English primatologist and anthropologist. She was only around 11 years of age when she met Goodall at an event in a local zoo and was inspired to pursue her dream of working with animals. Till today, Michelle keeps in touch with her family and also visited her hometown when her father passed away in 2019.
After graduating from Munster High School in 1984, Dr. Oakley enrolled herself in the University of Michigan and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Animal Biology. In university, she also signed up for a wildlife study in southwest Yukon. Once in Yukon, Dr. Oakley was inspired to be a veterinarian, and thus, Michelle joined the Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island in Charlottetown, Canada. In 2000, she completed her education and earned her M.D. in veterinary medicine before interning at the Calgary Zoo.
Dr. Michelle Oakley’s Husband and Children
During her Michigan University years, Dr. Michelle Oakley went to Yukon as a field assistant to study the arctic ground squirrel ecology. On her first trip to the place, she fell in love with the Canadian territory’s natural beauty. During this same trip, she met her beloved husband, Shane Oakley, a native of Yukon. Shane, a wildland firefighter by profession, fell in love with Michelle, and soon after, they got married in Hawaii on December 10, 1992. After their marriage, Michelle decided to enroll in The Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
The couple welcomed their first and second daughters during Michele’s veterinary school years. Their eldest daughter, Sierra Oakley, was born on July 15, 1997. An athletic kid who loved sports throughout her high school life, Sierra also went on to be the Yukon female hockey team captain in the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Sierra had watched her mother treat animals from a very young. Perhaps it was her mother’s influence that made young Sierra choose a similar line of work.
Sierra graduated, in May 2019, with a pre-med bachelor of science degree from St. Francis Xavier University. Maya Oakley, Michelle and Shane’s second daughter, was welcomed into this world in 2000. A sports lover like her sister, she too represented Yukon in the 2015 Canada Winter Games and was the goalie in the team her sister captained. Both Maya and Sierra are featured heavily in the show as they love helping around their mother’s clinic in the summer.
Michelle and Shane welcomed their youngest daughter, Willow Oakley, in 2004. Even with a hectic schedule, Michelle loves taking time out for her family. She also says that her girls, especially Sierra and Maya, had helped her in her clinic from when they were little, and she feels that she can’t do without them. Here’s a picture of the youngest member of the Oakley family!
— willow oakley (@WillowOakley1) February 5, 2020
Recently, with jobs on either side of the border and Covid-19 restrictions, Michelle and her husband had to be in a long-distance relationship for a long time. Yet, their love remained strong, as is evident from her Instagram post where she says that “It sucks, not gonna lie. But it’s also worth it.” At almost 52 years of age, this impressive and fantastic veterinarian keeps taking considerable strides in her professional and personal life, and we wish her the very best for the future.